Calhoun woman sues Trooper for civil rights violations

By Lawrence Smith | Mar 22, 2012

CLARKSBURG – A Calhoun County woman alleges she was falsely arrested by a West Virginia State trooper to leverage her cooperation in the investigation of a missing Roane County teenager.

CLARKSBURG – A Calhoun County woman alleges she was falsely arrested by a West Virginia State trooper to leverage her cooperation in the investigation of a missing Roane County teenager.

Jackie L. Denmark on March 12 filed a civil rights suit against Cpl. D.B. Starcher in U.S. District Court. In her complaint, Denmark, 58, of Orma, alleges Starcher arrested her two years ago for the sole purpose of getting her son, William Albert "Seth" Denmark, to disclose the whereabouts of David Wayne Beech III.

According to the suit, Starcher with the Grantsville detachment first interviewed Denmark in May 2006 shortly after Beech, 17, from Spencer, was reported missing. Starcher and two deputies from the Roane County Sheriff's Department received information Beech might be at the Denmark residence.

In the course of the interview, Denmark denied knowing Beech's whereabouts.

Four years later, Starcher obtained a warrant to search the Denmark property. The warrant, according to the suit, was a result of Veronica Cottrill saying she, at gunpoint, was made to help Seth bury Beech's body on a nearby hillside.

In her statement, Cottrill stated Denmark was aware Seth abducted Beech, and later killed him. Though some evidence was discovered at the scene, Beech's body was never discovered.

Based mostly on Cottrill's statement, Starcher arrested Denmark on March 12, 2010, and had her charged with one count of aiding or abetting kidnapping. Following her arrest, Denmark remained in jail for an unspecified period before being released on bond that included a period of house arrest.

According the suit, Calhoun Circuit Judge David W. Nibert dismissed the charge April 2.

Her arrest, and subsequent incarceration, Denmark alleges, was done out of Starcher's "desire to accomplish a collateral advantage" of charging Seth with murder. In the suit, Denmark states while Seth was incarcerated at the Anthony Correctional Center in Greenbrier County on unrelated charges prior to his arrest for Beech's kidnapping, Starcher interviewed him, and said he would have her arrested if Seth did not tell him the location of Beech's body.

In her suit, Denmark maintains Starcher's abuse of the legal process based largely on Cottrill's uncollaborated statement resulted in a depravation of her constitutional rights. As a result, Denmark says that along with losing her full-time job, she's "suffered great hardship, physical and mental emotional harm [and] enjoyment of life."

Denmark seeks unspecified damages, attorneys fees and court costs. She is represented by Henry E. Wood III of Charleston and Lee F. Benford II of Ripley.

The case is assigned to Judge Irene M. Keeley.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 12-cv-43

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